A multilingual social media content strategy isn’t really as straightforward as using Google Translate. It takes a different and specialized approach, namely through translation and content localization. As you know, social media is a unique content platform that offers a personalized experience for its users.
Thus, social media is a great way for content creators to create and maintain meaningful connections with their audience. But to connect with a multilingual audience is what proper translations and localized content are.
What Is Localization and What Does It Have to Do Social Media Content?
General localization is a key mainstay in a global marketing strategy. It’s quite straightforward; it’s simply adapting either your content, products, services, etc. to fit the niches and nuances of the target audience/market.
When it comes to a multilingual audience, naturally providing proper translation is part of most localization strategies. However, a lot of people simply stop at translation and wonder why their multilingual marketing strategy isn’t making that much of an impact as they hoped for.
Ultimately, localization is an effective and essential marketing strategy employed by global entities of all kinds, in all sizes for them to successfully penetrate their target market and capture the local audience’s attention.
With social media being so saturated with so much engaging content already, it begs the question as to how can anyone rise through the ranks these days? Through quality content, but in this context, quality localized multilingual content.
A multilingual social media campaign that employs localized content will bring a more personalized experience for your followers compared to simply translated but unlocalized content. Since social media users are provided with all the features they need to personalize their social media content with relevant interests and engaging content, you want to ensure that your content ticks all of their boxes.
Can You Do Content Localization on Your Own?
Yes, localization is one of the effective ways of in a global marketing strategy—only if done properly. It requires heavy research with a nuanced mindset that frankly, cannot be done alone and is actually a team effort made up of the right people for the job.
In fact, badly localized content might even do more harm for you than you expect. What do I mean by badly localized content? Things such as incorrectly and even inappropriate translations, poorly targeted content, to a downright offensive that not only hurts your social media campaign but also your brand recognition and future reputation.
Localization is one of those areas where cutting costs and corners most often won’t work out in anyone’s favor. In the end, it’s better to get the right people on board to assist you in your content localization strategy from start to finish.
Relying on a Professional Translation Agency for Translation and Localization Services
The right help you need from a professional translation agency for both professional translation services and content localization services. As for translation services, they actually offer a wide range of niche translation services such as marketing translation services, website translation services, and document translation services just to name a few.
Professional translation agencies typically are also classified as localization companies since translation and localization services usually go hand in hand. As with niche translation services, they also provide niche localization services such as marketing localization, website localization, and even app localization.
Going back to translation, quality translation isn’t just about linguistic accuracy but also about sensitivity to context. Simply put, it’s crafting the right translation that will work for the target audience. You can see why professional translation agencies are key players in intercultural communication and business communication efforts.
The only reliable way professional translation agencies can render this kind of translation work is by networking with thousands of professional translators with native language skills worldwide.
If you need to translate your social media content into Spanish, then naturally you would need a Spanish translator that can translate English to Spanish for you in this case. Here’s a great resource on how to market effectively to a Spanish-speaking audience.
Also, try to resist the urge to rely on Google Translate or any other free translation software. You can look up in Google and find many articles on translation blunders with the culprit mostly due to free online translation software. In the end, getting accurate and quality translations from professional translators is the best option for you, especially if your content’s message and brand authority depend on it.
Native translators can offer social media content creators a nuanced and critical consultancy on what is the best approach to capture the attention of your target social media audience. This is why it’s not really a good idea to rely on your bilingual or multilingual acquaintances to do your translation and localization work for you—unless they are professional translators and localization experts themselves.
Factors You Should Remember In Your Content Localization Strategy
Now here’s where we get down to the details in content localization. As you’re already aware by now, localization is about establishing resonance with the target audience by adapting your content for them. But how exactly? By paying attention to the following factors and incorporating them into your localization strategy;
a) Content Aesthetics
We’re talking about nearly everything associated with your content’s visuals, particularly color schemes. Regarding color schemes, you see, many cultures view colors in different ways.
Some cultures would view red as a color of wealth and prosperity, but others would view it in a more negative light in terms of death and violence. So when you’re making localized posts for a particular foreign audience, ensure that your visuals coincide well with their norms.
b) Adapting to Linguistic Nuances
Literal translations don’t worry even for languages in the same language family because language is an evolving human creation. Every culture and society has its own way of expression to convey the same meaning.
So when you’re translating highly nuanced texts such as slang, idioms, metaphors, etc. it’s better to let your native translator do it for you. In essence, capturing how the locals speak is a great way of establishing your content’s relevance to them.
c) Incorporating Local Norms
This is where a lot of research happens. Depending on your content and marketing objectives, you should know the prevailing cultural and social norms that matter to your target audience.
Find out what’s the ‘it’ thing that’s relevant to their society, graphic motifs do they respond positively to, and other relevant local factors you can utilize to maximize your content’s impact and relevance.
How much you incorporate them depends on your content and message but you could use what you learned as a proactive mindset by avoiding cultural and social faux pas. This also depends on your audience’s religious and political norms, areas with minefields of controversy that you want to avoid referencing in your content.
d) Fitting Typography
As you know, many languages have their own writing system apart from the Latin alphabet that English and European languages use. East Asian countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea have their own writing system as well as India, Russia, and Arabic countries just to name a few.
They all share different word ratios compared to English, meaning their writing systems will either add or reduce your character and word count. This will affect the layout of your content if your source English content is character sensitive.
Coordinate with your native translator in finding the layout to match the translation’s new arrangement. Also, coordinate with your localization consultant in crafting the right aesthetic arrangement since multilingual audiences have their own aesthetic specifications of their own writing system.
Diversifying Your Content and Having a Presence in Different Social Media Platforms
Compared to what the internet offered a decade and a half ago, there are many more social platforms now that feature more fun and innovative ways to share stories and content. In this day and age, an effective social media campaign is where you have a presence in nearly all of the available social media platforms.
a) Creating Multiple Social Media Accounts, Each in Different Languages
Instead of uploading your translated content on your single English account, it’s a good idea to create a separate account and dedicate your translated content there. This way, foreign language speakers will still have access to your content, albeit in its translated and localized version.
With each multilingual social media account, you can create personalized content for each of your global followers and establish meaningful relevance with them.
b) Creating Engaging Videos With Quality Translated Closed Captions
Videos are prime content for any content platform. You can diversify and enhance your brand authority by routinely uploading quality and engaging videos. Videos are actually becoming the standard for content platforms and even businesses of all sizes and industries to establish professionalism and credibility.
You might be wondering how do you incorporate your content localization strategy with videos. Should you create separate videos for each of your multilingual audience? Not exactly. In fact, we recommend you not do that since it’s exponentially costly, time-consuming, and plainly an unproductive content strategy.
You can create localized videos with properly translated closed captions. Again, do not rely on free automated software such as Youtube’s automated closed caption translator feature. It’s still fairly unreliable and cannot transcript informal and nuanced speech that is common in many videos.
For this, you need to get in touch with your professional translation agency and see if they provide video translation and transcription services, which is often the case. Properly translated closed captions is probably the only way, apart from multilingual voice-overs, in having your videos accessible to a wider multilingual audience.
c) Having a Presence in Regional Social Media Platforms
We can rely on familiar social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, etc. to reach out to billions of users around the world. But don’t you know that in some countries, they have their own dominant social media platform, and in a particular case such as China, even banned?
To name a few, China’s most popular social media platforms are WeChat and Sina Weibo. In Latin America, a popular platform is Sonico. Russian’s most popular platform is Vkontakte. Take a quick look at this post on the difference between WeChat and Facebook if you’re interested in comparing their features and global figures.
Indeed, apart from China’s WeChat and Weibo, the number of users in these social media platforms don’t even come close to Facebook’s figures and other global social media platforms. But the point is that these are the platforms where you can be heard by the local audience if you ever plan to reach out to these country’s audiences.
Translating and Localizing but Also Transcreating: Final Takeaway
Content localization can be an exciting way for you as a content creator to know more about your audience and finding the best way to tap into their interests. However, there are some instances where people do get carried away with their localization efforts and adapt too much to the extent of branching away from their brand’s essence. It’s a good thing to end this article with a point on transcreation.
Transcreation is keeping a stable image of your content’s message no matter its translated variation. Your translator and localizer are also your transcreators and while they are in the job of finding the best angle to capture the target audience, they also never forget to keep true to the source’s intent and tone. Simply put, never forget the true essence and niche of your content, adapt as you must, but remember to stay true to your essence.